Complete US Guide To The 2019 PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC)

Complete US Guide To The 2019 PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC)

The PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship (PSPC) is set to be one of the largest poker tournaments ever. PokerStars is hosting what is sure to be a memorable event in the Bahamas. Below is a helpful guide to all of its relevant information.

Key Details

  • What: PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship (PSPC)
  • When: January 6-10, 2019
  • Where: Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
  • Game: No-limit Texas Hold’em
  • Buy-in: $25,000
  • Guaranteed prize pool: $8 million (plus $1 million guarantee for winner)
  • Number of entrants: At least 320


PokerStars officially announced the tournament’s presence in late December 2017. At the core of the tournament’s ethos is ambition.

In its own words, PokerStars wants the PSPC to be “the richest and most exciting $25,000 live event in poker history.” For that reason, PokerStars wanted the entirety of 2018 to be a slow build on the road to Atlantis.

Obviously, a $1 million guarantee for first place will turn some heads. Even beyond the final spot, a tournament of this size will certainly yield life-changing money for several players.

However, PokerStars, which has made significant efforts to appeal to recreational players in the past few years, does not want this tournament to be a gathering of top professionals only. Rather, the site wants a celebration of poker at all skill levels. Or, as the announcement declared:

“We want to bring the poker world together in a one-of-a-kind live poker experience, presenting players of all skill levels the chance to win millions of dollars. We mean everyone, whether you’re a poker rookie, fledgling amateur, established local pro, or a bonafide superstar.”

Of course, few poker players have the bankroll or desire to wager $25,000 on a poker tournament. So, PokerStars needed a solution for the high buy-in, particularly if rookies and amateurs were to compete.

PokerStars Platinum Pass

Enter the Platinum Pass. The Platinum Pass is a self-contained ticket to the January tournament and has all the extras that amateurs might need.

A Platinum Pass consists of:

  • $25,000 tournament ticket
  • $2,000 spending cash
  • 6 nights of accommodations at Atlantis Resort

Altogether, the Pass is worth $30,000. The cash and accommodations are sufficient to allow any player to attend with their families.

PokerStars will also be doling out goodies at the actual event itself. Each player will receive a player bag filled with great gifts and prizes. Players can also visit the Players Lounge for drinks and additional prize draws.

PokerStars began distributing these Passes through various events throughout the year. The vast majority of them went to online players, obviously, but PokerStars Live also awarded some of them at live events.

In keeping with the theme of mixing the professional with the amateur, the conditions to receive a Pass varied from event to event. In fact, some players won their Passes as a consolation for busting out of another tournament on the bubble. PokerStars awarded the very first pass to a Romanian player who missed the money at the 2017 Prague Main Event.

Since then, PokerStars has doled out over 300 of these prize packages to players around the world. Some of the lucky winners live right here in the United States.

US Platinum Pass Winners

In fact, 31 American players have a seat waiting for them at Atlantis. The majority of them won their passes in live events.

Oddly enough, these players have Chris Moneymaker to thank for their good fortune. Moneymaker toured the United States and awarded Platinum Passes at casinos all over the country throughout 2018.

Here is a list of all the US Platinum Pass winners. Click any underlined player’s name for our feature story about their journey to the Bahamas:

NameRoute to Platinum PassLive or Online?
Jacqueline BurkhartMaria Konnikova #MyPokerStory Platinum Pass Adventure winnerOTHER
Andrew CanfieldNJCOOP PSPC Entrants All-in Shootout winnerONLINE
Tenzin ChakdorNJCOOP PSPC Main Event All-in Shootout winnerONLINE
Clifford EllefsonMoneymaker Tour Stones Gambling Hall winnerLIVE
Thai HaPCA Main Event Day 2 drawingLIVE
Matt Kiefer#VloggerInParadise Platinum Pass Adventure winnerOTHER
Maria KonnikovaPCA National Championship WinnerLIVE
Derik LiNJSCOOP Main Event Winner (Low)ONLINE
Anthony MaioNJCOOP Moneymaker Special Tourney winnerONLINE
Nathan ManuelRun It Up Reno Moneymaker Spectacular winnerLIVE
Ronald MiciMoneymaker PSPC Tour Foxwoods Casino winnerLIVE
John MokhtariMoneymaker PSPC Tour Lucky Chances winnerLIVE
David PetersPCA Main Event Wild Card drawingLIVE
Michael PageNJSCOOP Main Event Winner (High)ONLINE
Andres "Andy" RisquezMoneymaker PSPC Tour - Seminole Hard Rock winnerLIVE
Carlo RodriguezSeminole Hard Rock Poker Open 'Play to Win' Draw winnerLIVE
Warren SheavesJen Shahade #MyChessPokerGame Platinum Pass Adventure winnerOTHER
Ray SuppeMoneymaker PSPC Tour - WinStar Casino winnerLIVE
Kenny TranMoneymaker PSPC Tour -- Gardens PokerStars Challenge winnerLIVE
Nitis UdornpimMoneymaker Tour at Live! Casino winnerLIVE
Luke VrabelFoxwoods World Poker Finals winnerLIVE
Arthur WhiteMoneymaker PSPC Tour Mohegan Sun winnerLIVE
Alice ZhengLIPS National Championship at the Orleansin Las VegasLIVE
Damon FerranteCommunity Player winnerOTHER
Tom ChiarellaConsumer Media DrawOTHER
Jeremy Hilsercop'12 Labours of Arlie' WinnerOTHER
Joey Ingram'12 Labours of Arlie' WinnerOTHER
Linda JohnsonInvited CelebrityOTHER
Kevin MathersInvited CelebrityOTHER
Andrew NeemeSelected InfluencerOTHER
Brandon WelterMSPT Promo WinnerLIVE

Of course, not all of the Pass winners are going to be rank amateurs. In fact, just about anyone who wins a Pass can play pretty well.

There are also some notable players on the list. Professional players like Kenny Tran and David Peters will be headed to the Bahamas next month.

Still, the PSPC should go down not only as one of the richest poker tournaments of all time, but also one of its most democratic. In contrast to other high-profile, high buy-in events, the home game players will rub shoulders with the best in the world.

Of course, that fact is one of the great things about the game. In few other endeavors can the novice play in the same game as the elite.

However, on Jan. 6 in the Bahamas, that’s exactly what will happen.

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